Innovation & Product Experience
Innovation in Ingredients--Plant Stem Cells and Coco Jasmine Extract
Aveda has been researching plant stem cells for nearly a decade to identify novel ingredient opportunities from this technology. Because plant stem cells can mature into any cell within a plant, we are looking at ways to use them to add to the efficacy of our products. We incorporated raspberry stem cells in the recently launched Invati Men™ and Tulasāra™ Calm Concentrate products. Cindy Angerhofer, Aveda’s Executive Director of Botanical Research, explains further:
“Plant stem cells are totipotent; they can become any kind of cell that a plant needs. People see it all the time when they take a part of a leaf or a piece of a plant stem, put it into water, and then see it grow into a whole plant.
Theoretically, tissue from any mature plant can be induced to de-differentiate when cultured in special media. With the proper conditions, the leaf or roots can become non-specialized and the cells can be coaxed into making any compounds found naturally in the plant by changing growth conditions such as nutrients, light, temperature or oxygen/CO2 levels. With the right conditions, the cells make much higher amounts of a sought-after compound than the low amounts that occur with normal plant growth. There are now commercial ventures to make plant stem cell-based compounds.
The benefits of this technology are pretty cool. There’s no need to cultivate or harvest wild plants, making it possible to use rare plants in Aveda products, while supporting the preservation and restoration of plants in the wild. Manufacturers potentially may be able to create stem cell extracts of plant species that are difficult to harvest or cultivate using traditional methods. Conventional agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides are not needed to grow stem cells, and the technology requires much less water to produce compounds of interest than growing plants in the field.
Right now, we’re using raspberry stem cells and we’re evaluating other stem cells for beneficial activity. We’re working with scientists at a company which is capable of culturing undifferentiated plant cells consistently at a large scale. We expect this technology to offer more and more opportunities to increase our use of Ayurvedic plant ingredients.”
Dr. Angerhofer continues to remind all of us at Aveda and her colleagues throughout the industry that “Plants are powerful,” and that we can harness that power for a wide variety of human uses. She also reminds us that we owe a debt to plants so we should take care to use them responsibly for their potent inherent attributes, and that we need to protect and restore plant habitats to preserve what should remain wild.
In an example of a new ingredient derived from an old technology, Aveda’s Head of Pure-Fume™ Aroma, Guy Vincent, an expert in the use of natural ingredients and their chemistry in aromatic consumer products, has incorporated a coco jasmine extract into our Tulasāra™ Wedding Masque and in three of the Tulasāra™ professional Aroma Infusions: Nourish, Nurture and Renew. Jasmine flower petals are so delicate that they typically require extraction with hexane, a hydrocarbon solvent. The resulting solid, called “concrete”, is then put through another extraction process with ethanol to become liquid. We avoid the use of ingredients obtained through solvent extraction. Our supplier uses a modernization of a bygone technique known as ‘enffleurage’ to generate a jasmine aroma ingredient without using a solvent like hexane. Instead, the flowers are immersed in certified organic coconut oil and processed with certified organic ethanol which results in certified organic coco jasmine oil. This ingredient provides a unique aromatic profile with a delicate floral jasmine character infused with soft milky aspects.
Our guests’ typical initial experience of Aveda’s products is at an Aveda network salon or spa where a licensed cosmetologist, esthetician or massage therapist uses and recommends Aveda products, at an Aveda Experience Center, or at one of the Aveda Institutes. In each of these settings, Aveda products are part of a holistic multi-sensory experience designed to engage the mind and body. Guests have the opportunity to participate in complimentary Aveda Rituals of Renewal including the Aroma Sensory Journey, Stress-Relieving Hand Ritual and Stress-Relieving Neck and Shoulders Ritual.
Aveda’s wellness rituals combine customized Aveda skin and hair care products for a unique and personalized experience. The Skin Balancing Treatment, a 20-minute mini-facial using our Tulasara™ skin care line, incorporates the Radiant Awakening Ritual to exfoliate the skin using an Ayurvedic- inspired technique. The Scalp to SoulSM Consultation treats the guest to tailored Aveda products, techniques and wellness for a truly holistic beauty experience.
Experience Centers, Salons, Spas, Institutes and Travel Stores
Walking into an Aveda retail Experience Center, salon, spa or Institute has always been unique. Along with products and services, we have long provided free stress-relieving rituals, skin treatments, consumer education, and beautiful sights, sounds and aromas in a setting that embodies the Aveda Mission. They reflect attention to green building principles and a concerted effort to use materials that are consistent with the Aveda Mission.
For the past ten years, we have been using a tool Aveda developed to help to guide our decision-making process on different materials used to construct our stores. In Fiscal 2014, the entire process for sourcing and construction guidelines was finalized with our purchasing team. We implement these guidelines through:
· Building documents that we provide to our external partners for a new build or a renovation of an Experience Center. These outline our environmental mission, goals, and considerations when executing any approvals, orders, or work to complete a project.
· Requests for Proposals to potential vendors for materials, fixtures and services that include questions about their environmental standards in production, sourcing, and/or shipping.
· Criteria that outline Aveda’s material use policies and specify how we decide on materials for building construction, fixtures and finishes that help us reduce our environmental impact.
We are working to improve our global construction specifications and the transparency of materials sources for our international stores, which can be a significant challenge in some of the geographic locations in which we operate.
Embodying the Aveda Mission in the look and feel of our Experience Centers is an ongoing effort. Jamie Sneed, Executive Director of Global Store Design and Planning, and Lindsey Urbina, Manager of Global Store Design and Planning, talk about some of the ways in which they put the Mission into practice in Aveda’s retail experiences:
Lindsey: “We work with global suppliers and on tight timelines. This involves obtaining documentation that traces materials back to the source so we know that they align with the Aveda mission. To ensure that our suppliers understand Aveda and how we source, we are constantly updating our specifications.”
Jamie: “While creating a store atmosphere that pays homage to the environment we also strive to reduce costs and prioritize eco-friendly materials in all aspects of our store design. When we were looking for a luxurious bar top material but didn’t want quarried stone, we went to Caesarstone for sustainably manufactured material. We limit the size and weight of store fixtures to decrease transportation impacts, incorporate living, healthy plants in our stores to help filter the air, reduce resin materials in favor of recyclable glass made with recycled content, use fabrics in place of plastics and porcelain floor tiles.”
“We don’t do business with vendors that can’t meet our requirements for material, sourcing practices, and product tracking. Within the group of ELC approved suppliers we determine which ones are pursuing more sustainable practices in terms of waste management, use of recycled or bio-based materials and material traceability. By encouraging the vendor to prove that they’re as sustainable as they can be, we help them think about new and better ways of doing things not only for us, but for other clients as well.”
“For instance, we find vendors who sell fallen wood, giving us something extraordinary and natural without cutting down trees. Our storefront materials are purchased from Pioneer Woodwork, a company that reclaims and refinishes wood into new products. In the men’s tower fixture, for example, we used five barns worth of wood. We use solid materials whenever we can find a sustainable source but prefer to prioritize sustainability. Sometimes it’s better to use veneer, such as with shelf fixtures, if the glue is VOC-free and the material is recyclable.”
Newly designed community tables are a feature that is at the heart of each Aveda Experience Center. The community table serves as a place where guests can lounge, think, recharge with a stress-relieving ritual, and discover and sample new products. Guests may interact with friends, have tea, plug in personal mobile devices, and interact with Aveda personnel. This intimate and relaxing setting was designed to allow guests to slow down, discuss personal wellness preferences and products, and come away rejuvenated.
Jamie explains that “The tables themselves are visual representations of our company heritage, our admiration of nature, and the efforts Aveda makes to align with our Mission. They are made from sustainably harvested monkey pod wood sourced from Diamond Teak, originating in the forests of Costa Rica. The wood provides the warm and soft appearance we were looking for. Interestingly, all four slabs that we used for making tables for the first redesigned stores came from the same tree as second cut sister pieces. They are incredible pieces of nature to marvel at and enjoy."
“During FY 2015-2016, we initiated a transition of our lighting to LEDs which has allowed us to reduce energy consumption in stores. All new and renovated locations are designed with LED light fixtures; however, we still have some existing locations that have not fully made the transition. We also have developed a program to reuse Aveda fixtures and other interior elements when we renovate, close, or relocate a store, often in temporary pop up stores and in remodels.”
U.S. and Canada
Salons and Spas
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